Hundreds of homes destroyed by California wildfire, deaths reported

Vehicles are seen during evacuation from Paradise to Chico in Butte County California U.S in this

Tens of thousands flee fast-moving Northern California fire

In the northern part of the state, at least five people have been found dead in scorched cars after having tried to flee the disastrous Camp Fire burning about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the state capitol.

Only a day after it began, the fire near the town of Paradise had grown to almost 110 square miles (285 square kilometers).

The Camp Fire, which broke out on Thursday at the edge of the Plumas National Forest northeast of Sacramento, has since blackened more than 90,000 acres and was only five percent contained as of nightfall on Friday.

He said ash in the air was so thick that it "looked like midnight" in the middle of the day. "Those reports have not yet been verified", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told a news conference.

The Ventura County Fire Department said evacuation orders were issued for some 75,000 homes in Ventura County and neighboring Los Angeles County.

The fire is being driven west by 56km/h winds, fire officials said.

It was one of three major blazes burning across California Friday that officials were concerned about.

The Woosley Fire burns in Malibu, California, on Friday.

The fire in Paradise was reported shortly after daybreak in a rural area.

Queues to leave the city have resulted in traffic jams and gridlock, which has led people to leave cars abandoned on roads as they rush to safety. At this point, firefighters are trying to save lives and not property, which should tell you all you need to know about how risky the situation is.

"It's devastating. It's like 'welcome to hell, '" resident Cynthia Ball, said about the dual disasters while she was outside the teen centre serving as a shelter for evacuees. "People started getting out of their vehicles and running". Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said his department had hoped to hold the fire to the north of the 101 freeway, but it jumped the highway in several locations because of high winds.

That was all before the Camp Fire escalated rapidly Thursday, changing the lives of not just the football team at Paradise, but the entire community forever.

"Most of them were immobile, with walkers or spouses that were bedridden, so we were trying to get additional units to come and try and help us, just taking as many as we could", he said.

Acting California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in both of counties due to the Woolsey Fire and a second wildfire also burning in the area. Her father, a lineman for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, was called in from another district to help shut down power, she said. The blaze sent residents fleeing, and now threatens the city of Chico, home to 90,000 people. Herrera, who lives in Paradise with her 88-year-old husband Lou Herrera, left a frantic voicemail at around 9:30 a.m. saying they needed to get out.

Strong winds blow smoke horizontally over the the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean over the city of Malibu, far distance, in Southern California, seen from the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles Friday morning, November 9, 2018.

A third wildfire was also expanding in Southern California's Ventura County.

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